Although he’s been making music for 40 years, Rodney Crowell is still going strong. He has announced a brand new album entitled Tarpaper Sky that swiftly follows his first official collaboration with Emmylou Harris, Old Yellow Moon, which was recently nominated for the Grammy in the category of Best Americana Album. Crowell’s new effort will be released by New West Records, a label that boasts a roster that has included country royalty like Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, and Dwight Yokam.
The record was self-produced by Crowell and sees him rekindling a working relationship with Steuart Smith, a frequent collaborator who was integral to his ’80s sound. The album will be released on April 15 of this year and hearkens back to his sound circa 1988’s Diamonds and Dirt era. Aside from new music, Crowell also published a memoir, Chinaberry Sidewalks in 2011, and collaborated with poet Mary Karr and many others on the “memoir style album” Kin.
Crowell is currently touring with Emmylou Harris and recently spoke to Elmore about their musical and personal connection. “We have sort of a brother-sister relationship. Our sensibilities are the same, and there’s just no friction. We are having so much fun that we’re talking about making another record and touring some more.”
As far as his own music, Crowell cites the sense of community that Americana provides as an appealing factor “Great music has always come out of times of crisis,” he said. “People in society are increasingly isolated. We are tribal creatures. People need a sense of community.”